The difference in cost between a good quality hammer and a poor quality hammer is just a few dollars. The shape of the head, the type of the handle, and the weight of the hammer are the most important factors when buying a hammer.

Hammer handles come in ash, hickory, tubular steel with rubber grips, or fiberglass. The head of the hammer should be forged from quality steel. On general-purpose hammers, the surface that comes in contact with the nail should be smooth and have a slightly beveled edge.
Specialized hammers are available for everything from installing drywall to hammering upholstery tacks.

Here are the different types of hammers:

Claw Hammers – This is the standard and most common hammer. A 16 ounces curved claw is the best choice for the Do-It –Yourselfer. Nail pulling can be done easily with a claw hammer.

Sledge Hammer – This is a large hammer used for heavy driving or for breaking concrete. A Sledge Hammer usually has a head weight from 2 to 12 pounds.

Hand-Drilling Hammer – Used with masonry chisels for cutting bricks and for driving concrete nails into concrete

Framing Hammer – This hammer is also known as a ripping hammer. This type is used for rough construction work. If you do a lot of rough framing, use a 20 ounces Waffle-Faced hammer. The coarse face will bite into the nail head and the extra weight will give you more driving power. This type of hammer is available up to 28 ounces.

Wallboard Hammer – They are designed for driving drywall nails. The face of the hammer is crowned or convex. Its crowned face lets you set the wallboard nail below the surface of the board without crushing the plaster core around the nail.

Tack Hammer – Excellent for setting small fasteners. They are often used for upholstery making and cabinet making. Some are magnetized to allow a tack to be set right on the small end of the hammer so you won’t smash your fingers.

Ball-Peen Hammer – This type of hammer has a hardened face on one side and a ball on the other. It is used to shape metal and working with chisels and rivets.

Here are some tips to help you use a hammer better:

  • To reduce the chance of bending a nail in heavy work, try to drive it with the fewest possible hammer blows. Hold the hammer handle at its end, not in the middle. Keep your wrist stiff during the swing. Remember to always wear safety glasses or goggles.
  • When nailing small nails or brads use a needle-nose pliers or teeth of a comb to serve as a nail holder to prevent smashed fingers.
  • When driving a nail into hardwood, drill a pilot hole first, just as you would do for a screw. Another way to ease a nail into hardwood is to lubricate it with beeswax or household lubricant oil.